© STARTTS/ David Maurice Smith
Mental Health – Community Living Supports for Refugees (MH-CLSR)
Building confidence. Improving well-being. Connecting with others.
Mental Health – Community Living Supports Refugee (MH-CLSR) is a unique program that aims to provide trauma-informed, recovery focused and culturally appropriate psychosocial supports to people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum who are experiencing psychological distress, mental ill health and impaired functioning. STARTTS is in a partnership with New Horizons to deliver the MH-CLSR program in the following Local Health Districts: South West Sydney, Central Sydney, Hunter New England and Mid-North Coast.
The objectives of MH-CLSR are:
- To improve the mental health, wellbeing and functioning of program clients
- To increase social participation and community integration of program clients
- To prevent acute mental health crises and avoidable admissions to hospital or presentations to emergency departments
MH-CLSR is for people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum of any age who have arrived in Australia in the last 10 years, who have ongoing mental health challenges. People must be in stable accommodation and must be willing to engage with the program.
The common challenges a person might be experiencing could include:
- Staying in hospital multiple times
- Being recently discharged from hospital
- Feeling distressed for a long time
- Feeling lonely, helpless and hopeless
- Having difficulty dealing with everyday tasks and routines
- Not feeling in control of one’s life, and having difficulty taking care of oneself
- Headaches and pain
- Sleeping problems and bad dreams
- Problems with negative thinking, concentration and memory
MH-CLSR provides individual support to help people set goals, build confidence, and improve their health, wellbeing and connection with others. MH-CLSR aims to help people live stable and meaningful lives with support being guided by the person and involving the whole family if needed. MH-CLSR will also provide support connecting and collaborating with other people or services in a person’s life. MH-CLSR staff work in collaboration with clinicians and health staff.
Some examples of practical support that could be provided include:
- Support to help with everyday life tasks such as: shopping, transport, cleaning, medication management and support to attend medical appointments.
- Support with finding and keeping a place to live.
- Community and recreational support such as linking people to: cultural events, community activities, sports and physical health activities.
MH-CLSR staff are interested in listening to and understanding a person’s unique situation and challenges. MH-CLSR workers are from different cultural backgrounds and have a good understanding of the experiences and cultures of people from refugee backgrounds.
After the referral is made:
- The intake team will send out a letter of acknowledgment
- A staff member will contact the referred person and the referrer to arrange a meeting
- Referral and assessment is discussed with the local health district committee to decide who will be accepted into the program
- A letter or acceptance will be sent to the referrer and supports will commence
- The referred person may be placed on a waiting list
All MH-CLSR services for the people we help are free.
STARTTS and New Horizons MH-CLSR locations include:
- Inner West Sydney
- South West Sydney
- Coffs Harbour
MH-CLSR staff will meet people wherever they are comfortable, whether it be in their homes, in the community or at a STARTTS or New Horizons office. Please call the phone numbers provided above for further details about the program in different areas.
MH-CLSR staff are trained professionals who come from different cultures and backgrounds. They are specialised in helping people experiencing difficult things. These difficult things may relate to a person’s past experiences or current situation.
MH-CLSR staff speak many languages, and all use professional interpreters when needed.
All support through MH-CLSR is confidential and is only known by STARTTS, New Horizons and the Local Health District. Information will only be shared with another relevant service if the person gives us permission and it is to help them. However, if the person tells us they might hurt themselves or hurt someone else, then MH-CLSR staff would need involve other services to protect the person and others. People currently accessing MH-CLSR may be contacted to volunteer to help evaluate the program.